This is a strange time, I know. It's stranger for some than others. As a writer, I was already working at home, so I had a basic routine in place already (though now my family is all home with me and adaptions have been necessary!) For those new to working at home, it might feel overwhelming, especially now that it's been a few weeks, but you can do a few things to make things smoother. Here are my top 5 tips for being productive when working at home!
1. Get dressed in the mornings. I know, I know, it’s fun to sit in pajamas all day, but I find that being dressed for the day actually preps my brain to start working.
2. Make sure you move around often. There are no office mates who stop by to chat (unless you have kids or a spouse at home sharing your space now, too) so it’s up to you to take breaks. When I get stuck in a story, I take walk around the block to help clear my head. I have weekly exercise classes I make time for, and I also take plenty of snack breaks!
3. Set up your office to be comfortable. Consider not working in bed, even if you can. It might feel silly to set up pictures near your temporary desk, but it will help make your home office feel more like a regular work space. My work space is pictured below, but even if you are just using a space on your kitchen table, give yourself somewhere to stack folders and papers so they are easy to find. It'll save you a lot of time in the long run to spend time up front organizing your space.
4. When you are feeling isolated, take a moment to really notice your surroundings. I can hear the birds outside my window and kids playing in their backyard a few doors down. Someone is mowing their lawn. I'm not alone--and neither are you. We're in this together. Then send a short check-in email to someone else who is newly at home, just to say hi. Pretend you just stopped by their desk to ask how their weekend was. Physically distancing doesn't mean we should distance ourselves in all ways. Stay in touch with others.
5. Don’t feel guilty at night when you leave your home office. You’ve put in the time. Taking time to rest and relax is critical to keep your brain and heart fueled, especially during such uncertain times as these. Setting boundaries is important.
Best wishes to you all as we navigate this unique time.
To those of you in 4th-8th grade and older, I hope I can offer a smidgen of help & encouragement as you traverse the waters of intermediate school, middle school, and high school.